Class of 2003 alumna, executive producer at CNN speaks at Senior Convocation


Ursula Fraley

Humble Beginnings-- High school alumna and executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN Worldwide Ashley Codianni watches a clip of herself from her time anchoring the 9:05 News. Senior Convocation took place September 7.

Pei Yi Zhuo, Editor in Chief

Ashley Codianni, graduate of the Class of 2003 and executive producer for social and emerging media at CNN Worldwide spoke at the 30th annual Senior Convocation on Friday, September 7. The senior class attended the event in the high school auditorium, which also featured remarks by Principal Bill Silva and Class of 2019 President Joanne Le. According to a letter emailed to seniors, the gathering was supposed to signify the formal beginning of the last year of high school.

In her speech, Codianni described the journey from her childhood to her current position in a global news company. According to Codianni, she was talkative in her youth. While a student at the high school, Codianni applied her gift for speech as an anchor on the 9:05 News.

She also discussed how she developed her desire to work in broadcast journalism as a high school student. Codianni recalled a field trip to Washington DC when she wandered into a press conference with then Secretary of State Colin Powell. Being among the reporters in that room inspired her to pursue a career in TV news.

Codianni attended the College of the Holy Cross, majoring in political science. Upon graduation, she initially entered finance, but found that she would rather be in broadcast journalism. Codianni then started at the Washington Bureau of NBC News, the job which eventually led her to her role at CNN.

“I decided to speak at the Senior Convocation because the 9:05 News and my experience at FHS was so much a part of how I learned to love history and politics and news, so I wanted to give back and maybe pass along some advice on navigating a career built on passion and perseverance,” Codianni said after the Convocation.

During the question and answer session following her speech, Codianni gave students advice for finding their calling in life, she told students to close their eyes and think of what they would like to be.

“Do that exercise a few times . . . And if that’s not it, then be more tactical about it. Intern at four different places in college and figure out what it is that you enjoy the most,” Codianni said.

Senior Ben Fitzsimmons appreciated the example Codianni set for high school students.

“Obviously, she works for CNN now, which is kind of really cool to think about how a high school senior, who worked originally for the 9:05 News, could go all the way up to the top . . .,” Fitzsimmons said.

Senior Lilia Giarnella agreed.

“I thought that her message about how she went through high school and how she ended up where she is in her career occupation was very inspiring,” Giarnella said.

Senior Convocation opened with statements from Silva, welcoming everybody to the event. Le then gave an address reflecting on the last three years of high school and looking forward to senior year.

Before the speakers took to the mic at Senior Convocation, Chartwell’s served students a continental breakfast and sophomore Emma Lee played piano music arranged by Music Department Leader Leslie Imse. Furthermore, this year, students continued to participate in the tradition of wearing custom T-shirts with their friends.

 “I feel like it [Senior Convocation] really brought our class community together. I know myself and a lot of other kids decorated shirts with each other and it was just a great way to get your friend groups together and really kick off a great senior year,” senior Mia Grzywinski said.